Molecular Biology and Genetics
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
725 N. Wolfe Street, PCTB 802A
Baltimore, MD 21205
Transcriptional and Post-transcriptional Mechanisms for Cell Diversification.
A major goal in biology is to understand how cell-type diversity and multicellular organization emerge from a one-cell zygote. We aim to understand how molecular changes are orchestrated with spatial and temporal specificity to progressively define diverse cellular identities during development. We use the nematode C. elegans as our main experimental system, as we can superimpose gene-regulatory information obtained with state-of-the-art methods on the complete anatomical cell lineage, and we have experimental access to most cells over time. Our long-term goal is to uncover general regulatory principles to understand how the path from the zygote to the production of every cell type unfolds during development. Questions about how cell types are defined and how a series of cellular decisions amounts to the generation of a cell type, are important and timely. Our work adds to current efforts in the field, providing new angles and a mechanistic depth that are difficult to obtain from other systems, either in vitro or in vivo.